Facebook has banned the accounts of several Myanmar military officials for spreading "hate and misinformation". This is the first time Facebook's banned political or military leaders from its platform. They're usually a protected species when it comes to spouting shit online, despite the impact of their words having far more penetration and legitimacy than the typical keyboard warrior. The big fish getting banned are Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the military Myawady television network. It's these two that the UN reckons committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country with "genocidal intent". Here's Facebook's blog post about the bannings. Better late than never I guess, but Facebook's hands are still stained with Rohingya blood to me.
Toyota has dropped an extra US$500m into Uber (it previously invested US$300m), wanting to work with the ride sharing company to further develop autonomous cars. "The Japanese automaker will integrate Uber's autonomous driving technology into some of its Sienna minivans, which - if all goes well - will enter service at some future date as ride-hailing vehicles accessed through Uber's platform". This makes Toyota the third car maker to work with Uber on robocar tech. Volvo sells Uber XC90 SUVs that Uber slaps computers and cameras on. Daimler has a deal with Uber to develop and operate their robocars on Uber's network. Let's see if Toyota's investment brings a bit of class and fewer deaths to Uber's autonomous division.
Big news in the exciting world of semiconductor manufacturing today - GlobalFoundries announced it will "cease development of bleeding edge manufacturing technologies and stop all work on its 7LP (7nm) fabrication processes" because of a change of strategy, not, according to them, a technical issue or an inability to manufacture 7nm parts. It seems like GlobalFoundries just reckons the massive cost in gearing up for 7nm production just isn't worth it considering the relatively few amounts of customers potentially making parts using that process. AMD was GlobalFoundries big customer and made all their chips - AMD is now moving all their production to TSMC, who are deep into 7nm fabrication.
You know those scammers who call up at random, say they're from Microsoft or Telstra, claim you have a virus on your computer and the only way to fix it is to let them log remotely? According to the ACCC, those geniuses have fleeced Australians of $4.4m so far in 2018 - more than what was ripped off during all of 2017. The latest scam involves the caller saying your computer is being used to send "fraudulent messages" by a hacker, and the only way they can catch this hacker is to put money into your bank account to act as a honey pot. Of course, to do this, they need your bank account details and people actually believe the whole "catch a hacker" story and hand over internet banking logins.
The Gold Coast is going all the way with this future city stuff, announcing that not only is it gonna expand its fibre network rollout, it's also going to be "building out an Internet of Things (IoT) network covering more than 1,300 square kilometres, with plans to use the connectivity for digital water metering, waste management, and support for parks and fields". National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo) have been contracted to build and manage the LoRaWAN based network. NNNCo are doing the same thing in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Stuff like this makes a lot of sense for local councils. Sensors all over the joint feeding data back to them can be insanely useful and save heaps of money.
Fairfax recently published a long interview with Mike Cannon-Brookes, the co-founder of Atlassian and very rich Australian man. It's pretty boring, but this bit about why he bothers with politics was enlightening: "A lot of issues that I'm interested in happen to require politics to solve them. Which means you have to learn something about that shadowy, dark world of Canberra. But it is not an interest area; the process in itself is not interesting to me. I think it's what you have to do to get things done. If you look at the few times we've gone through the front door, and the times we've just broken a side wall down, sometimes breaking the side wall down is the easier way to get shit done. You can't just constantly be turning up with a tank and blowing holes and stuff, it's not going to get you very many friends, but we just try to call it like it is". That's gotta be the most self-aware thing I've ever seen a startup wanker like him say. Maybe this guy's not so bad for a billionaire?
The EFF has a great article explaining how much of a pain in the arse it is going to be for tech companies to give governments access to encrypted communications. It's all US centric as they're dealing with a court possibly forcing Facebook to allow cops to listen in on Messenger conversations, but the general technology themes still apply to the encryption backdoor legislation we're grappling with in Australia. Messenger isn't end-to-end encrypted, so there's 4 ways Facebook & law enforcement can listen in: get the encryption key for that user and listen in on the raw data stream via the ISP, do a man-in-the-middle attack with Facebook's permission so a user wouldn't know, push out an update from Facebook to that specific user with a leaky version of Messenger that rats you out to the cops or simply tell Facebook to record the conversations and hand them over to whoever asks. It would suck to be the engineer forced to work on this kinda thing.
That's it, see ya tomorrow!